Lola O.
As always hello my lovely readers:) I hope this last week of 2010 has been going smoothly for you, and with many moments of happiness and reflection.

Right now I'm chilling in my apartment after the third day of winter camp listening to music and relaxing before I pack for my first ever ski trip. Living in AZ you don't really ever get a chance to do this, so I wanted to give it a go. I don't really like the snow but it should be a nice way to spend New Year's weekend with my friends. I head out tomorrow afternoon. I can't remember the name of the place but it is supposed to be one of the nicest ski resorts in SK. I didn't help with the planning, so I'm just going with the flow and we shall see how things turn out. I'm just worried about how cold it's going to be. I don't want to bring too much or too little. I just want to stay warm:)! Eh, I'm sure it will be fine. If it gets to be too cold I will just relax in the hostel.

So since my last post, I spent Christmas in Itaewon, and started my first week of winter camp. So far so very good. The kids have been great, good attendance and attitudes, and since this is an art themed camp we have lots of creativity and fun for the kids to enjoy. Tomorrow is probably the highlight of all three weeks. We are making chocolate chip cookies, and spending the class decorating and of course eating them:). As for Christmas it was in one word, weird. It was a very bittersweet Christmas. I went with friends for the Rocky Mountain Tavern Christmas buffet, which was okay but it was just weird not being at home eating with my family.

I'm thankful for my friends though, because it was a lot less lonely and sad with them. After the buffet we grabbed dessert at Dunkin Donuts, made a side stop to a bar and Taco Bell, and ended the night with some Norebang. All in all a weird but good Christmas day. I got home around 1 AM and spent all night calling my family and friends back home to wish them a very Merry Christmas. At this point I am soooooo excited to go home and see all of them. To catch up with their lives and see all the kids people have been having. So many babies to hug and spoil when I get home. I just cannot wait to see everyone. Its been too long, and the time with them will be bittersweet because it won't be long enough, but at least it will be something. I need to start making a list of all the thing to do, eat, and buy while I'm home. I'm dying for my grandma's cooking. She makes all my favorite foods so well. I cannot wait to devour them.

Goodbye 2010: Thank You For The Wonderful Memories

Alright, so on to 2010, all in all 2010 has been a year of transformation and growth for me. Like a seed that is planted and grows into a flower. I feel like I finally found my season to bloom. Haha, I'm so cheesy right! I've changed and grown is so many ways and each of them makes me proud. I've made some of my dreams come true, created new ones, and achieved ones I never even knew I wanted. All because I chose to come to South Korea and start a new chapter here, but more than that I started to choose the life I wanted to live. I came to Korean on February 26, 2010 and in less than two months I will have been here for a year. The beginning of 2010 was hard for me because of my health, but as it comes to an end I am so thankful that I am all better and healthy. I remember sitting at home on December 31, 2010 dreaming of being here, and now that precious dream is my living reality. I'm healthy. I'm happy. I'm thankful. I'm full of joy and gratitude for everything and everyone that got me here, that helped me grow.

My motto for 2009 was "finding the beauty in the breakdown". My motto for 2010 was/is "no resolutions, just (positive) change." I will carry that motto into my 2011. I think resolutions just set you up for failure. Instead of making resolutions I'll break I just decided in my heart to take small steps to create the changes I wanted in my life. No details. No time limits. Just the willpower and hope for change. 2010 was the year I began to live and understand what it means to live the life I imagine. The one I look forward to everyday. The one of my choosing. These are the snippets of the things I hoped for in 2010...

I want 2010 to be a year for me. A year of positive change, new journeys, and lots of positive self-discovery. I want 2010 to be a year of liberation from my scars, burdens, fears, and self-criticism. I want 2010 to be a year for me to transform, find, and create myself into the person I was always supposed to be. I don’t want to limit who I am, where I can go, or what I can do anymore. I want to take a risk and see what happens. I want to find the strength to always stay true to myself, and know there is nothing wrong with just being me.

2010 to me is a year full of closure, discover, opportunities, God, liberation, transition, freedom, travel, growth, promises, hope, dreams, goals, love, positive change, newness, exploration…and so many other things. It’s time for this flower to finally bloom and take root in this world. I want people to know me as I am, not as they want me to be. I want to be seen and to see the reality not the selectivity of the world. I want to laugh, love, dream, hope, fight, discover, grow, learn, fail, triumph, and find pieces of my puzzle in each experience, friendship, loss, opportunity, memory, and person I come across.

As I look back on the things I wrote in my journal for 2010 I smile to myself, happy that I stepped outside of my box, out of my comforts, and tried. There is so much beauty in the act of trying. Whether we succeed or fail we can say we tried. We gave it the best we could in that moments, and that counts for a whole lot more than doing nothing. I've still got many things I want to try, but I acknowledge all the things I've tried so far. Those small steps we take are what gets us to the bigger ones.

Hello 2011: Keep Living The Life I've Imagined:)

In this new year all I ask of myself is to keep that same attitude, that same courage and will power to try, to risk, to discover. I want to keep making my dreams into my reality. I want to keep exploring and creating who I am. I think we forget that the answer to who we are is a dynamic one. We are constantly transforming, growing, changing, redefining who we are, and we should do that. It's okay not to have a definite answer to an indefinite question. Who I am is always going to have a different answer, and I'm excited to see what gets added or subtracted as more chapters of my life come to pass.

In this new chapter I'll be spending another year in Seoul. I am excited and optimistic about staying for another year. To some it may come as a surprise, but even before I stepped foot in Seoul I knew that I wanted to stay for two years. To give myself these two years to immerse myself into life here and see where it takes me. I've done a lot of things in this past year and yet not enough. There is still so much to see, to enjoy, to taste and even with another year I know it will not be enough, but it will still be something.

I don't have any lofty goals or big plans for 2011. I look forward to turning 24, to exploring more, to having my brother and sister here in August, and being happy inside out. I look forward to many firsts, to more beginnings and endings. I look forward to it all, and can only hope that I'll greet 2012. If I can wake up everyday and smile, laugh, give, enjoy my life and the people in it then I am already so very lucky.

My New Year's Wish For You...
Whatever it is you want to do, wherever it is you want to go, whoever it is you are waiting for I hope 2011 brings you to it. I hope that you stay healthy, happy, and loved each and every day. Let it be a year of beauty, joy, peace, lots of opportunities, and endless laughter. I really hope it is a wonderful chapter in your story.

Lastly, I just wanted to say thank you so very much for following my story in 2010. However short or long you've been on this journey with me it is my sincere hope to have you along for the next chapter in 2011.

Be blessed,
~Lola O.~

I'd like to leave you with this song by one of my favorite bands. Pay attention to the lyrics, and I hope it inspires you for 2011

Paper Route "Sing You To Sleep"

"Each new year brings hope and meaning..."

To dream anything that you want to dream. That’s the beauty of the human mind. To do anything that you want to do. That is the strength of the human will. To trust yourself to test your limits. That is the courage to succeed.
-Bernard Edmonds-
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